Lake Delhi Officials Predict Restoration Will Be Done This Year

By Orlan Love, Reporter

Aerial view of the Lake Delhi Recreation Association Dam after it had been compromised.���� Mark Benischek/Sourcemediagroup

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By Aaron Hepker

LAKE DELHI, Iowa - Reconstruction of the washed-out Lake Delhi dam will likely be completed this year, lake district officials said Wednesday.

A required Army Corps of Engineers permit for phase 1 of the project – repair and upgrade of the flood-damaged powerhouse – should be in hand by early February, said Steve Leonard, president of the board of trustees of the Combined Lake Delhi Recreational Facility and Water Quality District, the governing body of an area that sustained multi-million-dollar flood damage in 2008 and 2010.

Leonard said the district expects to put out a request for bids next month with phase 1 construction slated to start this spring.

The district is still working with the Department of Natural Resources to secure a required permit for phase 2, construction of an earthen dam and spillway. That project, too, is expected to begin this spring, Leonard said.

The district and Delaware County, he said, are “getting close to a cost-share agreement” for public access improvements at Turtle Creek Cove, which will include a beach, rest rooms, parking lot, boat ramp and structures to reduce the volume of silt entering the lake at Turtle Creek.

During the fall, property owners and volunteers have removed trees and brush from the lower portion of the lake bed in preparation for the re-watering of the lake, he said.

In September district trustees voted to withdraw their application for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance in recovering from the 2010 flood, which breached the dam.

FEMA’s insistence on serving as the lead federal agency in the permitting process resulted in delays that lake residents could not tolerate, Leonard said.

The district is still working with FEMA to resolve whether it may have to repay any or all of the $3.6 million in FEMA funds spent to dredge the lake and repair the dam after flooding in 2008.

Leonard estimated it will cost about $15 million to restore the lake.

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